June 06, 2005 07:21:37am
Fresh SNATCH aroma: THE TRUE STORY!
I miss the good old days when EC comics such as original Tales From the Crypt and Weird Science 10¢ funny books were $5 each at Gary Arlington's SAN FRANCISCO COMIC BOOK CO.
Way back in early '69... the value has since gone up, far,far beyond the rate of inflation, then they were only 50 times more than their
1953 retail price.
The chances of me being able to afford one little comic book provenance of Jerry Garcia's personal collection of Tales of Terror, Haunt of Fear, Vault of Horror, Panic, MAD, Tales from the Crypt, Two-Fisted Tales, Psychoanalysis, Valor, Extra!, Fat and Slat, Moon Girl, A Moon, A Girl, A Romance; Modern Love, War Against Crime!, Crime Patrol, Crime Suspenstories, Shock Suspenstories, Incredible Science Fiction, Weird Science-Fantasy, Happy Hooligans, Picture Stories From The Bible, Frontline Combat, and Aces High comic books, even one, even if it were available, is unlikely ...
(sniffle) at present.
I was there the day Jerry Garcia walked into Gary's old comic book store that just had a certain amount of real od ECs from Gary's triples up on the wall or in his trunk... and I oogled them, trying to buy maybe one a week, plus buy some of Gary's old Uncle Scrooge comicsv at asbout $2.50 a pop...that was our dope... the smell since they were in very thin plastic bags if any, wafted through the old store.
It was the pulp paper from fesh cut logs and fibers; and espesially certain colors had eggshell in the old inks, and smelled if fresh, like breakfast for termites, mmmm,
add those old 50s funny books of the well kept Arlington collection with the then brand new 1969 fresh inks coming in straight off the presses of Don Donahue's Print Mint, and Rip Off Press, the ZAPS and Snatch Comix were positively drenched in these coated oily inks... but dry, the smell was intoxicating as it whirled and swirled in our senses... that's whats going on when you see nerds at comic cons kissing the pages....NO, they're connisuers SMELLING them, what do you think we are, the comic book guy in The Simpsons?
Hmmm, well I'll have you know, my plastic bags are bigger than Bruce's plastic bags, and thus.... but these serious thots were put away when, in walked Jerry Garcia and Rick Griffin, whom we knew, a regular customer.
Jerry kinda looked familiar to us 15 year olds and of course Griffin was the guy who brought Jerry there, some of the other underground artists probably knew him slightly.
I don't believe Gary much cared about the Dead, he really loved the Stones "Honky Tonk Women", and the straight ahead blues played on KPOO by the Chicago cats - that was what the godfather of Underground Comix listened to. not unlike some of the same things Jerry and PigPen might play besides all the bluegrass, folk and
ethnic stuff, whatever.
So, Jerry wastes no time taking down the EC near mint originals one by one.
Gary Arlington had seen the underground artists pull them out and oogle, study and swipe ideas many times, and then borrow a dime for coffee...
the typical grown EC reader wasted many an afternoon in the SF Comic Book Co., no money, no job, borrowing or selling thier old comics just to get a bottle of India ink, a speedball point (hey, not what you think!) and big coated thick sheets to fit on their makeshift easel.
Draw draw draw all nite and finally crash and burn. Back to GARY'S AT AROUND NOON, USUALLY BEATING the fat boy to his door, then maybe laving cryptic, illegible nonsense notes....which Gary would treasu7re... "Pure energy" he'd say proudly, and slip these slips into his ledgers... where they still are, 35 years later... the trend went upscale but Gary still arrives at about 1 or 2, in time for the mad rush of school kids, his regular customers, who these days buy more gum and trinkets than stuff to read. The stuff's unreadable...
It was great fun. Rent was cheap. Here's that the mainstream puts out, so we think.
And here's another wannabe, with a beard, curly long hair, a twinkle or gleam in his eyes, doing the same thing as us, taking them out of the clearvue folders stapled to the plaster or plywood dank green walls....oogling. them
Gary knew he was somebody or other, and says, "Well, you know, those are expensive now, they've gone up and sell for a lot of money."
Uh, but Jerry grinned back, saiys, "Don't worry, I'm a rich man."
and Gary humbly bags the lot, in plain paper, no boards, no plastic.
There went all the ones I planned to buy through 1972....
I mean, this was before a regular price guide, there were just mimeographed sheets and mimeographed zines with a few national dealers like Claude Helde and Howard Rogofsky who were stting the levels well above our local back room prices.
So any dealer in town at bookstores would whip out these sheets as proof of value, no condition guide or thought out anything, the back East mail order guys basically doublede the prices, it was a wide open hobby then getting kinda pricey, alienating kids without much money or stuff to trade without taking a loss...
Look at it now, you're lie an ant compared to giants with huge prices that can equal homes in Mill Valley for those same comics, that have only gotten older, yellower with age, and the aroma smells of commerce: social interaction, the raggedy ass scratchlines of Jack Davis, ecstasy!
One day Jerry called me, with Steven McNalley on the line, telling me he was crying he couldn't afford to pick up my GHASTLY original monkey's pa complete story artwork,
"WISH YOU WERE HERE".
It was a long way down to the top, if that makes sense... he was making more money than ever before on tour, yet none... maybe he just got vtired, of supporting this vast organization year after year, barely earning a retainer, he couldn't even afford $5 ECs anymore, just a poor old rickh duck like Uncle Scrooge.
Almost like he was murdered by Tom Parker and friends, like Elvis... a trained seal, the golden goosewas killed by the holders of his company.
Jesse Block had asked politely to keep shooting and talking to Jerry right after finished filming interviews with Jerry about John Cipollina, and Louie Louie for Eric Predoehl's unreleased movie, but you can find I presume (not for sale through me)
John Cipollina Electric Guitarslinger documentary.
So, my point being that
Jerry was captured and really perked up with 6the old light in his eyes.
What a bonus - unreleased, it sits andhas sat for 13 years in the archives of Jesse Block...
The glimpse of the old Jerry raving about each of his favorite EC artists -
That footage deserves to come out, but only a few lucky ones were even shown it by Jesse.
I'm one of the few.
Jesse will talk about it, see what you can do:
it's locked up tight, sorry kids!
This post was modified by cream-puff-war on 2005-06-05 19:24:08
This post was modified by cream-puff-war on 2005-06-06 13:30:37
[email munged to prevent (Good Lord! *choke*) spam - mod]
This post was modified by Diana Hamilton on 2005-06-06 14:17:46
This post was modified by cream-puff-war on 2005-06-06 14:21:37 Attachment: FMW680925-SG.jpg